Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. For many years, I was not a fan. I would never dress up, thought it was silly and unnecessary....after moving into our house I completely changed my tune and fell hard for being able to decorate our home and think up some very cute/fun outfits to dress the hubby into. Once we started our "annual" Halloween party at our place, I was hooked!

Flash forward to last year, I was majorly preggo and did not feel like finding a costume to hide the bump, nor in the mood to spend all the time to decorate and hold our party....or clean up after the party. So I didn't do any of it.

This year, I knew I wanted to make it a great first Halloween for our boy, but couldn't find the time to really decorate like I wanted too, plus I was a bit worried my decor is too scary for an 11 month old. BUT I knew I wanted to put together a cute costume for our little guy. And I don't know how you get cuter than a....NERD!

 Check this little babe out...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Houston, Baby!

Wowza - I feel like I haven't stopped moving since two weeks ago! And I definitely haven't been good about keeping up the blog. I usually try to be proactive with some posts, but that just didn't happen. I know things are getting bad when my mom comments on not seeing a blog update for a while AND she wants to know how our Houston trip went (since it's been so crazy that I hadn't even called her until yesterday...and that was while I was at Vickie's...trying to find out my soon to be SIL's bra size).

But I'm back and now you get to hear all about our trip...little man's FIRST flight....and all of the fun.

I suppose I should give a bit of background. Last minute a work summit popped up in Vegas. I had originally planned to go with the hubby, my sister and our friends to the Hawkeye game in Iowa City. We were planning a big day of shopping & cocktails on Friday for the girls while the guys golfed, a big dinner on Friday night and tailgating all day Saturday. Since my Vegas trip didn't allow me to get back until late Friday night - there would be no way I could get to Iowa City and enjoy all the fun. So, I rung up my best high school friend, Angie, and asked if she wanted the company of her bestie and her bestie's adorable, sweet, funny 11 month old...Of course she did!

After a whirlwind trip to Vegas, I was so happy to be home on Friday night....late Friday night. I went straight to bed - excited as a little girl the night before Christmas - because in the morning I would be reunited with my baby boy! Early Saturday, I rushed around the house finishing packing, getting ready and throwing together all I could think of for Cruz. I sped over to my sister's house to be greeted with the biggest four-tooth smile I had ever seen! Big smiles and kicking legs....my fave. I hung out with my parents for a bit catching up on what they did while I was gone and profusely thanking them for all of their help.

We then loaded up my Jeep with everything and my dad drove us down to Eppley (thankful I had him to drive us, I don't know how I would've maneuvered with the stroller, large upright luggage, carseat backpack, diaper bag and handbag AND parking).  I felt prepared - my friend Heather had sent me all of her travel deets since she has flown with her little girl a ton of times - it was VERY helpful....that is until I walked up to the US Airways counter, tried checking in, saw a friend of mine who worked there and he very nicely told me I was flying United, not US Airways...great job bonehead.

We got everything checked, easily made it through security and waited patiently to board.

Mama & Cruzer's first trip

He loved looking at the planes while we waited!
Fortunately we had planned bottle time perfectly and after getting settled we taxied out to the runway and prepared for feeding. The bottle definitely helped, I think anyway, to ensure he didn't get an earache.

Once we landed in Houston, I waited while everyone else got off and then we got ourselves together, were off to collect our bags and wait for Angie to pick us up.

Chillin' outside baggage claim in the hot Houston sun
It was so great seeing Ang and knowing we had two days/nights to spend some time with her and not have to share her with family & other friends like we do on her many trips back home. She was super great and borrowed a pack & play from a friend (not like I could've even managed bringing ours if she hadn't). We unpacked, got the tour of her complex and just chilled. It was nice...

Cruz checking out his digs for the next couple of nights.
We decided to meet up with her boyfriend, Austin, near his apartment in midtown for dinner at Barnaby's - this great little hole in the wall restaurant. Barnaby's is in the middle of the LGBT neighborhood in Houston, is very ecletic and every couple we came in contact with swooned over little man. After dinner and a glass of wine, we headed to Austin's to watch the end of the Hawkeye game...a terrible showing and embarrassing loss.

Wearing a Gerber Puff like a bindi

More mama & Cruz

Passed out after a night of fun
Sunday is the day I had been REALLY looking forward to - Ang was taking us to the Houston Outlet Malls...I had made sure to check out the directory before going and was about falling out of my seat excited at all of the great stores! Converse, Puma, Kenneth Cole, A/X, Tory Burch, Michael Kors....the list could go on...and on. We got there a bit early before the stores opened, but that was perfect for my guy who got to play on all of the kiddie rides. He loved driving the cars.

After a long (I'm talking 11am to 5pm here) day of shopping and many finds, we headed back to Angie's to model all of our finds and plan dinner with Austin for later that night. We decided to hit a little Mexican restaurant called Little Papasito's and unwound after a long day.

Cruzer's loot

Present from auntie Ang - Rock & Roll Mickey!
Happy boy at dinner
Last photo of the day we sent to Daddy
The next morning was Monday and Ang had to head into work for a bit, so Cruz and I had big plans to relax. We had breakfast by the pool, went swimming, play like crazy and packed ourselves up.  Then we headed with Angie to lunch and a bit more shopping (Lululemon, anyone?) and then off to the airport. It was hard to believe our time had passed so quickly!

Breakfast by the pool

Practicing his "mooo"

Ready to swim!

Testing out the fake grass....he wouldn't even let his knees touch it!

All smiles

Goofing around with Ang
We had gotten to the airport pretty early because I wasn't sure what to expect...only to find that our flight was delayed an hour just minutes before we were to board. I was sweating bullets at this point because little man was due for a bottle and I had planned everything just right. So what is a mom to do? Treat her guy to some ice cream, a stuffed Tiger named Stripes (to learn our "rawr" sounds, of course) and walk around the concourse over and over.

Passing the time....

Unfortunately he thinks every animal says "mooo"

Excited to be called to board!

Fortunately, he wasn't too upset and lasted until we boarded the plane and got settled before he fussed, but shortly we were once again taxing to the runway. The bottle worked like a charm, little man passed out and slept the entire way home. Once in Omaha, we quickly got our luggage and met uncle Mook out front. 

I have to say I'm so impressed with how little man behaved on our trip - we are truly blessed with a great little baby and I had such a great weekend hanging out just with him.

My Baby Boy: Fifty Weeks

Happy 50 weeks, little man!!

He looks like he's two years old in this pic!

I swear he is getting as tired of taking these as I am

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Baby Boy: Forty-Nine Weeks

Happy 49 weeks, Little Mango!!

Seriously....this is getting ridic! It's hard to believe I've taken 49 of these bad boys!

Friday, October 19, 2012

News Story

As everyone knows, Breast Cancer Awareness month is October and I'm proud to say that our company makes it our focus to put together a lot of initiatives towards raising awareness and donations for this cause.

We have many employee and customer activities thoughout the month, with one of my favorites being the Bras for Cause - where our employees decorate bras and the rest of the employees are able to vote for the one they like the best by placing donations next to their favorite. And while we also have many employees who have overcome breast cancer, the story of one of our VIP Leads is an amazing one. A couple of local TV stations picked up her story and I was able to listen in as she recounted all of the details of her years with cancer, leading up to today where she is now: cancer free. During this interview I was able to share some of the specifics of what our casinos are doing to raise awareness and donations throughout the month. (Check it out here.)

I am a huge proponent of doing what we can to help those in need and stories of people battling cancer always seeem to hit me extra hard. That's part of the reason I'm involved with Angels Among Us and so proud of the work that our organization has done to help families who have a child battling cancer, while small in comparison to some of the national affiliations, in the Omaha metro area.

Try to get out this month and do something to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness this month if you can!

Check out the full story here

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vegas Bound

I have to say I'm always impressed by technology...and a wee bit intimidated. Maybe that's why I only had a 19in TV and a flip cell phone when I reconnected with the hubs before moving into our apartment together. Maybe it's because I always seem to screw something up when I try to use it. Whatever the case....I was over the top impressed to see my flight to Vegas (for a work trip) had WiFi. Yay! I get to stay connected while 30,000 feet in the air!

I suppose I should be going over my notes for my meetings tomorrow. Or reviewing my employee's bonus packet, but that wouldn't be a fun use of my time..I'm going to catch up with my blog friends instead!

I'm on my way to Vegas right now (literally in the plane! I love this!) for a three day/two night summit. I suppose Vegas isn't the worst of places to go. In the airport I grabbed an issue of Ok! Magazine - generally I prefer US Weekly but since I'm a subscriber and get those delivered to me, this will do. As we were taking off I was flipping through the pages and found coupons for 20% off at Banana Republic factory and Gap outlet...decision made I'm hitting up the outlet malls when I get to town. Plus I've never been to this set of outlet malls and after looking it up realized there are a TON of baby clothes outlets. Note to self: buy another suitcase to lug your loot home.

I will be flying back into Omaha on Friday night where the plan is to pick up little man at my sister's house OR stay the night there since it will be late and head home in the morning to....wait for it....take Cruz on his first flight EVER to visit my bestie in Houston!

Yeah yeah I know...people fly with babies all the time so what's the big deal? Well, the big deal to me is that this will be the first of many flights in little man's life because this mama plans on lots of travel with him in the years to come.

I'm super stoked. Super nervous. Already practicing my apologies to the other passengers. And just praying that he does well. Only time will tell...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mischief & Milestones

I swear every day these days I could write a post about something new and cool that little man has done. He is growing and changing like crazy...and we're lucky to be along for the ride!

I finally got a little "ma-ma" love from our boy. He has been chattering away with the "da-das" for some time now and after letting the hubs win on the first word war, I've been feverishly practicing "ma-ma" to no avail. But after one day with the babysitter and grandma...the kid says nothing but mama - and it's so dang cute! Now we are getting even mixes of dada and mama, though he never says the one we want him to say...

Then as I was doing kitchen work - you know, the normal domesticated woman stuff like doing dishes, filling bottles, cleaning up after dinner - little man mosied on over to the dishwasher and pulled himself up to standing position. Where did that come from? He hadn't been pulling himself up yet that much around the house and then - Bam! - he does it so easily.

And pretty darn cute in his new astronaut PJs...if I do say so myself. (I swear I forgot I had ordered oodles of clothes from Gap & Old Navy online a couple weeks ago until it arrived on my doorstep. Ahh, my kind of surprise!)

Pulled himself up

Showing off...

His next move was reaching into the dishwasher, just inches from a knife
(he's so quick, but mama's quicker!)

Stand off with the puggle


It's Been A Long Time, Baby

10/11/2000 is a very special day for me...every October 11th, I think about the day (12 years ago this year) that I started dating the most important man in my life (I mean, he did give me our gorgeous little baby boy).

12 years ago I started dating my best friend.

Our very first picture together - 2000
 7 years ago we moved in together.

Our first apartment together - April 2005

4 years ago he proposed.

In Cabo - 2008

3 years ago I married him.

Omaha - 2009

1 1/2 years ago I found out I was pregnant with our first baby.


March 20, 2011 - those two (I mean, six) little lines were the best thing I've ever seen!
11 months ago I gave birth to our baby boy.

To date, the best day of my life - November 13, 2011

I am a very lucky girl knowing that Nick chose me....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Show & Tell: When I Was 17

Another Show & Tell link up with From Mrs to Mama:  WHEN I WAS 17

1. When you were 17, tell us what kind of car you drove, where you worked, and what you were usually up to on the weekends?
I drove a 1993 Chevy Corsica (yeah, pretty sure they don't make those anymore), worked at Maurice's at the Southern Hills Mall in Sioux City and on the weekends I drove "mains" with my friends and parked at the Mike's Foodtown parking lot with all the other high schoolers.

2. Show us a picture of you when you were 17 {roughly}.

Don't you just love senior pictures....and tight perms??

3. When you were 17, tell us what you wanted to be when you "grew up."
I wanted to be successful, rich, married, have children, be happy. I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life at this point...it took a couple years of college to figure that out.
4. When you were 17, tell us the kind of boys that you dated. Did you have a type? Do you have a relationship you remember well? Tell us about it.
Do we have two hours....girlfriend loved having a guy in her life and never went long without one. I liked athletic, good looking, funny guys. This doesn't mean I always had all three qualities at the same time! I dated another Nick who opened my eyes to Pearl Jam and thus love them to this day....that counts as a memory.
5. When you were 17, tell us where you pictured your life 10 years from then. Did it turn out the way you expected it to?
I would say my life turned out pretty much the way I envisioned, except at 27 I hadn't yet gotten married (though we were engaged & living with each other by this point) and, of course, hadn't had our baby yet. However, I had found a job I loved and didn't mind busting my butt to continue moving up the ladder.
Wow....this post really brought me back...and makes me happy to be at this point in my life!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Baby Boy: Forty Eight Weeks Old

Happy 48 weeks, little Mango!

Lovely Night At Dinner

After work yesterday, I relieved the babysitter, headed out to Shevy's to pick up the hubby after watching football and then we met some of our fam out for dinner at Kona.

Toward the end of the meal, as Cruz was standing on my legs and making faces at everyone across the table, I decided I should check his dipe to make sure all was well. I stuck my finger in at the back of his diaper, pulled it open and noticed that he had pooped. Not only that, but my finger was in the poop...which given a few more minutes would've been leaking out the top of his diaper. Are you kidding me?!? I pulled my finger out and tried to nonchalantly figure out how I was going to hide this from everyone else, especially my BIL to my direct right (side of the poop finger). My cover was blown when Kyle noticed the finger and then I just announced it to the whole table. Everyone was thoroughly disgusted (of course they haven't had the joy of children...yet...but this is just a fact of life these days).  I told the hubby I needed his help, grabbed the cloth napkin to wipe off my finger and beelined for the restroom to disinfect my hands and change little man.

 All I can say about the situation...gross.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Our Little Guy: Eleven Months Old

Happy 11 months, Little Mango!

What has Cruz been up to?

  • Big News: little man has officially started saying "ma-ma" this past month after some quality work with his babysitter and Gma C. And I love hearing it come out of his mouth. He has sprouted not one, but THREE new teeth (two bottom front, one top front) and the way his gums are swollen I know there is going to be another one poking out soon. He has started pulling himself up - most recently onto the dishwasher and his walk along toy. And the boy is quick! His favorite things are dumping out the puggle's food & water in the kitchen, sticking cords & iPhones into his mouth and tearing his mama's magazines to shreds. He was Ringbearer in Uncle Mook & Aunt Britt's wedding, went to the Pumpkin Patch and rode on a tractor with Papa. It's been a busy month!

    Manganaro wedding - cute little ringbearer


    Big green tractor

  • Eating: our boy loves to eat! Seriously we haven't really found anything he doesn't like. He is now fully feeding himself - and some of his favorites are turkey, ham, cheese, mashed potatoes, fruit and pasta. He goes through periods where he will spit out the food he doesn't love, but once I help him try a couple more pieces he's good to go. He also has discovered that it's "fun" to throw his food off the side of the high chair for Maya. Which, of course, she gobbles up but it leaves a messy floor for me to clean up. I will tell you the Boon High Chair has been one of my favorite purchases yet...that bad boy is so easy to clean and it literally takes under a minute. Thanks hubs! Little man is still taking about 4-5 bottles each day with 6oz of formula and I can't wait until the 12month mark when we can try out regular milk.
  • Loves his high chair...because he knows he gets to eat!

  • Sleeping: little man continues to be a great sleeper. Usually going down around 8:30pm-9pm and not waking up until 7:45am...on the dot. We have had some issues while he's been teething when he wakes up in the middle of the night crying and we usually can soothe him back to sleep or give him some Hyland's Teething Tablets (the bomb, by the way) and some Pedialyte and he's out.

    Boy sleeps anywhere

  • Developments:  Cruz is weighing in at 25lbs these days! I get the "wow, he's big for his age" comment All.The.Time. We lovingly refer to him as "the Tank" and I love every little roll he has! In addition to his first two words (da-da and ma-ma) he also does a great job with recognition and now looks for Maya when we talk about the puppy and giggles when I reference "puppies say ruff ruff." I'm trying to get into the sign language thing, which I know they are working on at daycare, but I don't know them all myself...what I know I learned from watching Meet the Fockers :)

  • Features: little man continues to look like his daddy's Mini Me and has some crazy hair. I had scheduled his first hair cut for last week but had to cancel at the last minute...which resulted in me carefully trimming his hair above his ears...carefully...while he slept. I didn't want any head jerks toward the scissors!

So hard to believe this silly little boy is going to be a year old next month!

Goof ball!